This Friday, April 12, is the International Day of Human Spaceflight, also known as Yuri's Night. It commemorates the launch of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, on mission Vostok-1 in 1961. The purpose of this celebration, held around the world, is to help promote space exploration. In the past I have often missed participating in this celebration because I get too busy and the day kind of sneaks up on you and then - Woosh! - it's gone and I look forward to the next year.
I am unaware of any special parties or events at the Clarke Planetarium, but they do have some great planetarium and IMAX theater shows on space exploration. If you haven't got anything planned and want to join in the fun, take in a show.
As for myself, I am going to celebrate in my own way - playing space games! I will be at GAJO Games in Sandy, Utah at 6 pm to play the new GMT game SPACECORP - the exploration of the Solar System. SpaceCorp is about developing a space exploration corporation, and reaching out to establish new bases and technology in our solar system and beyond. It includes several layers of games. You start by exploring the inner system, the LaGrange points, the Moon, and the first bases on Mars. Then you move into developing the technology and human presence in the farther reaches of the Gas Giants and the outer solar system. Finally you push to be the first explorers to reach out to the nearest stars.
Box cover art for SpaceCorp.
Game Board for the first phase of space conquest.
What else could you do? How about watch a movie or read a book on spaceflight. Or build a spaceship model. You could build a LEGO spacecraft. (I've started getting some LEGO astronaut figures, and there's a large Saturn-V kit awaiting my attention). Better yet, if the night weather is good and the sky is mostly clear, grab the binoculars, or if you have one, a telescope, and spend some time stargazing at the real space right above us.
Whatever you choose, have a happy Yuri's Night and celebrate the incredible adventure of space exploration!